Ex-Philippine police chief detained on graft charges

MANILA - A former Philippine national police chief surrendered to a court Wednesday after he was charged with corruption involving millions of dollars.

Avelino Razon was charged over the alleged misuse of 409.74 million pesos (S$11.7 million) in Philippine National Police funds in 2007, when he was the force's director-general, a police statement said.

An anti-graft court issued arrest warrants for Razon and 40 other defendants, including other police officials and civilians, criminal investigation chief Francisco Uyami said in the statement.

They are accused of misusing funds intended to fund the repair and refurbishing of 28 police armoured vehicles, Uyami added. State prosecutors allege the vehicles were never repaired.

Razon said he surrendered to the court Wednesday before police could visit his house to arrest him.

"I had no hesitation in my mind in surrendering and submitting myself to the jurisdiction of the court," Razon, now 60 and retired, told ABS-CBN television in a telephone interview at the court.

"We trust that our justice system will give us an opportunity to present our evidence."

Uyami said Razon has been charged with violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and has the option to post bail.

The retired police chief did not say if he would do so. Court officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Razon served as police chief in 2007 under then-president Gloria Arroyo, whose nearly 10-year rule was tainted with corruption allegations that she denies.

Arroyo's successor and rival, Benigno Aquino, was elected on an anti-corruption platform in 2010.

Arroyo was detained in October last year after she was charged with plunder for allegedly stealing 366 million pesos in state lottery funds meant for charity programmes, and spending the money on election campaigns.

Now detained at a Manila military hospital, Arroyo is also on trial for vote fraud for allegedly conspiring to rig the 2007 senatorial elections.